What is it about an arcade that just makes one come alive with youthful spirit? Is it the bright lights glaring off glass monitors. The buzzing and beeping electrical sounds that loop endlessly throughout the air, aggressive on the ear drums, but rememberable long after you leave. And oh yeah – the games are also pretty fun to play.
Arcades were the birth place of the gaming community, or at least where most people, myself included, who began their interest in videogames, started out. On a Friday or Saturday, you and a couple of your friends would journey on out to your local mall or pizza joint, and begin a long night of quarter-spending amusement. And whether that night ended with you wasting all your weekly allowance, or getting your rear-end beat thoroughly at Street Fighter II, it was still a fulling experience.
Turn now to 2010, and the Arcade experience is rare and limited one. Where the only places left to go seek such a thing is at a place that serves beer and buffalo wings. And even there the choices are slim pickings; unless you like racing simulators. (Of which I do, but that neither here or there.)
No, perhaps the only lasting presence of what a true arcade feels like is still kept alive by our friends in Japan. There, multi-storied buildings dedicated to spending your saved up quarters (or in this case Yen¥) on fighting games, 2D-based shooters, or whatever genre your heart’s desire are in quite abundance. You can play modern games to even classic machines, that should have their own display at a Smithsonian’ exhibit, are all there for your enjoyment.
In Japan, arcades populate in places where commuters are in high numbers. This is how the arcade scene there is kept alive, by people, who after a busy day at work, kill some stress for an hour or two before going home. And while that trend today has been steadily going down hill, forcing some arcades to close in numbers, the state of things over in Japan are at least better than here in the states where arcades are pretty much extinct.
It sounds like a true gamer’s paradise, and it is, or at least that’s how it looks like. But sadly you have to either 1) Live in Japan, or 2) cross the Pacific just to take an active part in. Always a catch… always a catch.
Well thankfully a NeoGaf user, by the name of DCharlie, has uploaded a hearty sum of pictures he/she has taken of arcades in Japan, and has blessed us poor souls by sharing them with us. And when I mean a hearty sum, I mean it; this gallery has a large variety of images taken from Club Sega in Akihabara (Anime nerd central of Tokyo, Japan) to the legendary Shibuya Kaikan Monaco arcade near the Shibuya Station in Tokyo.
What I love the most though, is that the overall collection of photographs isn’t just a slide show of arcades, but also of living life in a city as unique as Tokyo. So thanks to DCharlie for allowing us a peek into his world, and some awesome arcades too.